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TKR Numbness & Pain

After receiving some emails and comments from my readers regarding their tkr leg getting either numb or painful, I wanted to post a reply for others who may be experiencing these same symptoms.

For myself, the area surrounding my bionic knee scar is numb. However, I’m so used to it, it’s no big deal. It could be much worse. The area is most pronounced immediately on top of my knee cap area. It extends to about 2” radius/circle surrounding my entire knee (inside, outside, top, bottom).

When I first stand up, there is pain on the outside portion of my knee. It is most noticeable from the outside of my tkr knee to my foot. Sometimes my foot tingles and feels like there are little critters crawling on it. Eww… The pain was MUCH, MUCH worse before my surgery, though. The current pain is worse during sleeping when I attempt to change positions. OUCH!!

I don’t know if it is because I have gotten used to it, or it is the passage of time, but the pain has diminished from when my total knee replacement recuperation first began 13 months ago.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing. It does get better, in my opinion. If it doesn’t, I would suggest consulting with your physician.

Good luck! As the famous philosopher, Red Green, once said…”We’re all in this together!” 😉

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18 Responses

  1. Hello Everyone,

    Yes I too have the pain and burning but on the outside of my knee. I get shooting pain all the way down to my foot! Its like an electrical shock and I yell when it hits because its not on a timer. Just hits whenever it wants to. My pain is still bad at times but overall I do not have the pain I constantly had before my replacement. Thank God for that because I could not stand it anymore! Now its a different kind of pain and I’ve went from 4 pain pills a day to 2. You have to weigh it out in your mind if the pain is really bad enough at the time to take a pain pill. Actually I’ve been on strong pain pills for two years and a half after my injury and scope surgery at which time I was told I needed a TKR. It was up to me when, and I was told to hold off as long as I could before having TKR done. I think i may have waited too long enduring the pain but finally after 2 years I gave in. Dr. said my knee was way worse than he imagined. My waiting was out of fear of the unknown and I still have mixed feelings but I can’t go backwards now. Its all straight ahead from now on and I hope I reach my pain free zone really soon.

    Blessings to all and just hang in there, yours will come eventually just as mine will. Nobody said it was going to be a picnic. Btw…Anyone able to dance with the Bionic knee? I so want to dance again. Be detailed with what dancing you can do from clogging, jitterbug etc. These are my favorites to dance.

    • I had my TKR last September after 10 years of pain, and 3 arthroscopes to “clean up” the damage inside. Finally the Dr could do no more so I elected to have the total knee replacement. Like others I still have some numbness down the side of the op site, but that soes not worry me. Recently though I have experienced a shot of pain right down my leg when I turn or make some other quick turning movements. Stairs are still a major problem for me.
      After lots of investigations, a forum of orthopaedic surgeons decided that is was nothing to do with the surgery, but some muscle tissue damage.
      Yesterday, under local anaesthetic and ultrasound, I was given a silicone type injections to help with movement between tendons, and a anti iflammatory block of some sort which should last for a couple of months. After this time the Drs think that the problem should have resolved itself.
      I hope so, in 10 days I embark on a four month world cruise and I don’t want this annoying me after all I hve been through to this point.
      Here’s hoping.

  2. I dance in my mind while watching Dancing with the Stars……that show is my guilty pleasure and I live vicariously through the stars who are learning to dance.

    Cloris Leachman made me feel REALLY bad last season…but this season, with 2 ladies hurt before the season even began, I felt a little better, seeing how they were both younger than me!

    I just want to be able to walk, function well in my job, work in the yard and climb the ladder to get in the pool……and SWIM!!!!!

  3. Hi Cowgirl and Debi,
    Personally, I like doing aerobic dancing but without the knee bends or kicks. And…belly dancing. 🙂 Belly dancing took longer to get back into after my tkr than aerobic dancing, though.
    Hope this helps…

  4. Hi!
    I just had bilateral knee replacements done on 6/16/09 – just 4 weeks ago. Forget dancing- I just want to sleep!! I am a right side sleeper since birth and just cannot seem to get comfortable enough to get more that 2 hours of sleep consecutively. I have tried all sorts of propping, pillows, pain meds etc. I know i am still pretty early after the surgery but I am progressing at a fantastic rate, walking about 3/4 mile and doing stairs.and most activities of daily living. I have not tackled walmart yet.
    The fatigue is however, affecting my mood. Does anyone have ANY SUGGESTIONS to get comfortable.
    Thanks for the positive thoughts.
    Soccermom

    • Hi Soccermom……I salute you for having both knees done at once!

      Sleeping, or lack of, is a problem we have all faced……..and it just takes time. I even bought a recliner at 3 weeks, thinking I could sleep in it if I woke up in the middle of the night……but really never did. I use an assortment of pillows, and I would always wrap my knee with the large gel ice pack when going to bed….Eventually I started using Tylenol PM to help me sleep which helped.

      I think after the 3rd month, I was sleeping much better. Keep the faith and it’ll get better soon!

      Keep us posted…..Booktoots has lots of helpful posts….

      Debi

    • I use a down blanket doubled up under me ans a thin body pillow between my legs, she is not pretty but she works.i wake up once at night to pee. I am 4 weeks out and can walk one mile un aided. still working on my range. I had right tkr

  5. Hi i had bilateral knee done july 09 its been 8 wks and i have severe pain and stiffness good range of motion still not the whole way straight .im on pain pills and sleeping pill can only sleep about four hrs at a time then im up . my family dr stated i have rsd ,this is terrible if i had any idea it would be like this i would have never done it i would have lived with the pain ,,,Brenda

  6. Hi Brenda,
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. You’re going through the toughest part of a tkr recuperation. We all have been there. I had one knee done and it was awful at 8 weeks. I can only image what a bilateral is like. It has to be a nightmare.
    Hang in there. It does get better and will definitely be worth it. Believe me….we’ve all been there and feel for you.
    Keep in touch and good luck!

    Blessings to you…

    • Hi Hun,

      Just to let you know your among thousands of people who are going through or have been through your experience. I’m 11 months out of my replacement and I’m still on pain meds and I still can’t do well with stairs. I think about would I have done this had I known the pain it would bring. I basically exchanged an everyday every minute excrusiating pain for a lesser and not as often pain. My Dr. told me I was looking towards august of this year before I would see good results. Now as my replaced knee is healing I now have calcium build up around the replacement and my left knee is in my Drs. word just as bad as my right one was and I needed it done but I quickly said no! He said you will know when. I don’t even wanna think about getting it done even though its buckling on me and I have almost fallen several times. Thank God I have’nt. All I can say is just hang in there. You have a ways to go but It will get better its just a very slow process. God Bless and good luck. P.S. Use ice, ice, ice as much as you can.

  7. Hi, I had TKR on 17th November 2008. Off work for 15 weeks and pain was very bad. Ten months down the line I now seem to have developed severe pain under my kneecap. I haven’t been back to see my consultant since this new pain, and I would dread to have more surgery. The whole experience has not been good and if I could turn back the clock I would have not have had it done. Regarding the kneecap pain, I don’t recall having knocked it or knelt on it to cause damage or fracture. Happy days !

    • Jeff, I had TKR done 6/6/09. Knee joint swelling and knee cap pain are still my enemies. Supposedly, the knee cap pain is caused by the swelling. The physician has no idea why I have had swelling since surgery. I now wear a compression sleave, but my knee still hurts. And, whenever I exercise my knee swells.

      • Hi,
        Your knee hurts when you exercise of course but your Dr. should have told you that the swelling is fluid build up but it cannot be drawn off because it may cause infection. You can’t even get a cortisone shot in your knee because it may cause infection too. The best thing to do and I know because i’m 11 months out and still take pain meds, is everytime you exercise your knee, prop it up and use ice packs on it. Thats pretty much all you can do unless you have pain meds to help. Trust me I know this. This is a long healing surgery so just do the best you can. Also you can use a large ace bandage wrapping about 4 inches below the knee snug and loosening as you go over the knee itself. That pushes the fluid back up towards the heart and takes down swelling. Good Luck and hang in there. We sure can”t go backwards. We have to move ahead one day at a time.

      • Your Doctor does’nt know why your having swelling 6 months out? Thats ridiculous for him to say that. I’m a year out feb. 2nd and just recently my knee has been subsiding to swelling, its part of the healing process. Imagine this ok? Your nerves, tendons, muscles are all wrapped around your knee. Now you have the replacement and the new knee is foriegn to all of these things. Kind of like their talking to each other, like is that my knee? Thats not my kneecap..The nerves, tendons and muscles have to gradually take hold of the new unrecognized knee. You would’nt grab onto something you did’nt know would you? Well these nerves tendons and muscles are the same way. As they get use to the new knee they will gradually reform into their regular position. I found looking at it this way gave me comfort in knowing that the swelling and pain were not just indicators of the surgery, but also a part of my body getting these things back into place. I hope this illustration helps you. Sure helped me although I stil havepain and I don’t do very well with stairs. God Bless….Hang in there, you will be fine, its just a matter of time, work and patience.

  8. Hi all! I had bi-lateral knee replacements two weeks ago, and could not be happier! I’m a 57 yr old male, and have had bad knees all my life. I scheduled the surgery last April, and spent the summer getting ready – lost 15 pounds through diet and four or five visits to the gym every week. The surgery went perfectly – except I apparently didn’t stop my aspirin therapy soon enough – I needed three units of blood and a few extra days in the hospital. Two weeks later I can walk with my fingers resting on the walker, have been outside with crutches, and have even gone out for lunch once. I started with the full array of pain killers, but now take two Tylenol Arthritis three times a day. The compression stockings bother me more than the knees. I sleep in a recliner – have not found a comfortable way to sleep in a bed, but I expect when I have more range of motion etc that will come. (If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them.) I have a Visiting Nurse therapist come three times a week, and will start going to a PE facility for therapy in another week. I know it is difficult or impossible for many people to reach the level of fitness I did before the surgery, but I am convinced that is why I have has such a good result so far.

    • Well your one in a million. This surgery is not an easy thing to go through at all. I’m glad your doing so well. I took in home therapy for 4 weeks and was not allowed out of the house. Then I had 12 weeks of out patient therapy. I’m still hurting but I can walk well, my leg justgoes numb after about 30 minutes.

  9. I am female and 85 years old. Four years ago I fell full body on my sloping driveway and that was when I hit my left knee so hard, it was damaged. It was crippled for these past years, checked with my doctor who wasn’t enthusiastic about my considering knee replacement. But, I had a total knee replacement 3 months ago. Physical therapy has been part of my recovery. About 2 months after surgery I drove my car; with the most difficulty getting in and out because of the pain. I still wear a compression hose on that leg which I feel is a big help. My knee has 1 piece of plastic attached to one piece of metal, round shaped and about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. I sleep with a refrigerated cold gelatin plastic form I put on my knee, (a bag of frozen peas work good, too) I prop my knee up with puffy pillow, take Vicadin pill, and sleep comes easy, with pain occasionally. Have graduated to a cane instead of my walker and on occasion inside I walk without any help; but I’m afraid I might fall when I go other places. Getting inside and out the door of my car is becoming easier. I use those little wheeled drivable carts when I am in a store that has them.
    I’m happy I had it done.

  10. Just be careful and watch where you step. I do that and I still fell down 5 steps. Ouch! Yes it hurt but thank God it did’nt do any further damage.

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